Team Alberta, along with the Grain Growers of Canada, were in Ottawa last week to discuss priorities for Alberta grain GROWERS to ensure a viable and profitable crop sector.

Mike Ammeter, a Director for Alberta Canola says this collaborative outreach couldn’t have happened at a better time.

"There is a lot of good news for agriculture right now, most notably Agriculture’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product recognized in the federal budget and Canada’s goal to grow agri-food exports to $75 billion annually by 2025,” said Ammeter. “We were pleased by the prospect that the government views agriculture as an engine for growth and are committed to collaborate with them to unleash that growth.”

Alberta’s four major crop commissions that make up Team Alberta have argued that progress in transportation, trade, research and innovation are not only needed to achieve Canada’s ambitious growth plan, but are essential for our competitiveness.

While in Ottawa, Team Alberta also raised the issue of cash ticket deferrals and the impact it may have on their membership.

“As farmers, our success is directly tied to the effectiveness of Canada’s transportation system and the ability to get our product to market, so we continue to share the message that accountability is the only way to make real gains,” added Jeff Nielsen, President of Grain Growers of Canada. “It is imperative a system is put in place that gives shippers the ability to negotiate meaningful, reciprocal, service level agreements and ensure a basic level of accountability for rail companies.”

“Alberta grain farmers are major exporters and to grow our exports we need free trade agreements with key global markets, such as the United States (U.S.), China, European Union (E.U.) and Japan,” added Warren Sekulic, Director with the Alberta Wheat Commission. “Non-tariff barriers to trade are our number one concern for market access. Biotech and pesticide regulations, and phytosanitary measures continue to impede our crops from getting into foreign markets.”

The Team Alberta outreach mission included a delegation of Directors and staff from the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Wheat Commission, and Grain Growers of Canada. The delegation met with representatives from all political parties and shared a united message about how the government can support Canadian farmers.